Cebu City puts up 2 command centers to monitor polls

·3 min read

OVER 700,000 registered voters are expected to flock to the polling centers in Cebu City on Monday, May 9, 2022, to cast their votes in the local and national elections.

To ensure their safety as the city is still in the midst of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, medical and non-medical workers will be deployed, and this include around 1,000 personnel from the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CCDRRMC).

The CCDRRMC command center has been established inside the Cebu City Sports Center to monitor the situation during the polling day, and another command center has been put in place in Mayor Michael Rama’s residence so he will be updated on the happenings within the city, according to CCDRRMC chairman Gerardo Carillo.

Fire trucks, ambulances and emergency vehicles will also be deployed in the different voting centers in the city, said Carillo.

Based on the data provided by the Commission on Elections in Cebu City, there are a total of 740,711 registered voters in Cebu City—339,755 in the north district and 400,956 in the south district. There are 444 clustered precincts in the north district while 520 clustered precincts in the south district.

Observe protocols

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche of the Department of Health in Central Visayas has reminded voters across the region to observe public health protocols on Monday.

“As we practice our right to vote, let’s not forget that Covid-19 is still very much in our midst. Let’s keep ourselves safe (and also) our families and our community by keeping in mind that we can only beat Covid if we, together, are mindful of our minimum public health standards even the barest minimum of proper face masking and keeping our distance from the crowd,” said Loreche, the department’s chief pathologist in the region.

The CCDRRMC will also deploy “intelligence” teams to the voting centers to provide real-time assessment on the elections. They will craft the “rapid damage assessment and needs analysis” that will be forwarded to the CCDRRMC command centers for an appropriate response, according to Carillo.

Carillo further said the CCDRRMC will also monitor any commotion or threat that may arise during the election.

In Mandaue City, the Commission on Elections office in the city completed the distribution of election paraphernalia on Sunday afternoon, May 8. The distribution started the previous day.

Comelec Mandaue City election officer Evelyn Cueva said they are all set for the elections Monday.

Returning to hometowns

As President Rodrigo Duterte declared May 9 as a special non-working holiday, voter turnout has been expected to be high.

This is also the reason why workers in urban centers like cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu traveled back to their hometown where they registered to vote over the weekend.

From Friday afternoon to Saturday evening, more than 55,000 passengers flocked to the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) and Cebu North Bus Terminal (CNBT), according to Carmen Quijano, manager of both terminals located in Cebu City.

Quijano said over 40,000 passengers flocked to the CSBT on N. Bacalso Ave., while over 15,000 passengers traveled back to their places via the CNBT outside SM City Cebu in Barangay Mabolo.

Quijano has assured the public that there’s enough buses to transport the passengers.

In a separate interview, Eduardo Montealto Jr., director of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Central Visayas, said there are also about 40 buses plying from both terminals to southern and northern Cebu and vice versa that offer free rides for the commuting public.

He said some of the units that have been contracted under the Libreng Sakay Program, are plying until 9 p.m. while others until 10 p.m. every day.

Quijano said they no longer expect a huge number of passengers that will flock to the two bus terminals on election day, adding that the remaining passengers going back to their hometowns to vote were already transported on Sunday. (IRT, MKG, HIC)

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